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Mr. Reid 16, Us 15, Washington 12, Britain 10, United States 8, U.s. 8, Kerry 8, Davis 8, America 7, Syria 7, Europe 6, Scotland 5, Greece 5, Georgia 5, Boehner 5, England 4, Mr. Inhofe 4, Mr. Whitehouse 4, Utah 4, Miliband 4,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    January 30, 2013
    5:00 - 8:00pm EST  

republicans have a blind eye to the waste in the defense department and the mismanagement and the duplication and the swinging revolving door from retired military officers to the very companies that end up getting the contracts that pay their salaries to get another contract to keep going on things that necessarily are not priorities. let me just take an example here for a moment, if i can, -- actually, this is the best one. here's all the programs on green buildings. anybody think that makes sense? that's why we had to have a chart this big, because it's absolutely asinine what we're doing. the duplication of what we're doing through multiple different
departments in terms of incentivizing green buildings. just think about if you just had five or ten people in the administration of each one of these programs what you would save if you ended up just having five or six programs. what would the -- and what would the benefit be that would innure through the years in terms of the compounded savings for our kids and young people in this country? so when you look, here's green building, you've got the national institute of standards and technology. they have i think three or four or five or six programs. you have the department of health and human services, they have a multitude of programs. you have the department of agriculture has multitude of programs. department of transportation, they have multiple programs for green buildings. why don't we have a green
building department in the federal government and just have one and save the overhead and save the money? environmental protection agency, you can see all their programs throughout. this is lunacy. it's craziness. so i -- i'm going to stop with that. but i'd have this comment for my fellow oklahomans and fellow americans. the next time you hear from a member of the u.s. congress that we can't cut spending, have them play this c-span tape back for ya. either they won't -- don't want to or they know nothing about management or efficiency or commonsense. there's no longer an excuse to say we can't get marked savings from our federal government. and as i go through this the
next couple of weeks, i'm going to show example after example after example. it is painful to say the greatest nation in the world is absolutely incompetent when it comes to managing its bureaucracy, its programs, and its money. but that's a true statement. and i'm going to show evidence over the next two weeks of just how incompetent we are. but i hope to build the case that no member of congress can ever tell a constituent again that we can't cut spending and that we can't cut significant spending, at least $2 trillion just from duplication, just from duplication over the next ten years. the work of government is hard. the work of the congress is built on compromise. but there's no longer going to be a bogus set of facts out there that we cannot cut
spending. because i'm going to prove that we can and then it's going to be on the onus on the rest of the members of the body to say why they're not. with that, mr. president, i'd yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
quorum call:
quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: i presume thatter in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mr. whitehouse: i ask that the quorum call be lifted, please. officer without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you very much. i was here on the floor the other day and i heard while i was waiting my turn to speak did, i heard senator hatch give a speech, and i have the very highest regard for my friend, the senator from utah, and his speech was very thoughtful. it was passionate. it was thorough. and so i thought it deserved a respectful response, and so i'm here today to respond to that, and i hope to begin a debate, or engage in a debate if not begin
it. senator hatch was talking about the fiscal situation and he framed his remarks with the observation that our $16.4 trillion debt is too high and the observation that -- and i will quote him -- "annual trillion dollar deficits have become the norm with the current administration." senator hatch is certainly right that that debt is too high. and annual trillion-dollar deficits have indeed briefly become the norm, but i would suggest that that's not the norm recently because of this administration. it's the norm because the economy collapsed. we all remember that the economy collapsed. and to withdraw federal spending from a collapsing economy is only to make things worse. the economic collapse created these deficits, and as the
economy recovers, we can draw this will down. now, there's not aagreement on that. some have preached austerity as the way forward when the economy coul lapses. -- collapses of the and when this withstand, there was lively debate between those who support that would be more sensible than austerity. we're past us a started and now into experience much the experience of foreign countries belies that austerity works when economies are collapse ago. from spain to greece, european countries that responded to the economic downturn by slashing their budgets are suffering from shrinking economies and persistent double-digit unemployment rates. a recent i.m.f. report estimates that budget austerity in a weak
economy might actually inflict significant harm and have a much lower-than-expected effect on the deficit, consistent with the observations in europe. and the reason this is this way -- i'll get into jargon just for a minute -- economists measure the effects of changes in government spending on g.d.p. with a metric called the fiscal multiplier, the fiscal multiplier. a multiplier of 0.5, for example, means that a $1 increase in government spending would reduce g.d.p. by only 50 cents. the higher the fiscal multiplier, the worse that the impact a cut in spending has on the overall economy. and, therefore, the lower it's actually -- its actual lower effect on deficit reduction. the new i.m.f. report suggests that here in the united states, as in other countries that are
recovering from the great recession, the fiscal multiplier is actually greater than 1, meaning that a $1 reduction in government spending shrinks the overall economy by more than $1, doing net harm. oxford economics puts the fiscal multiplier of the united states at 1.4, which means for every dollar you cut, you ha you had e lose $1 340eu in gross domestic product. goildman sax, which is not exactly a left-wing outfit has put it close to 1.5. cut $1, lose $1.50 in gross domestic product. economists at the the university of california have found that during recessions -- and it is important -- during recessions, the fiscal multiplier in developed countries generally
falls between 1.5 and 2. that complicated economic gobbledygook boils down to this: $1 in reduced government spending will reduce gross domestic product by more than $1 -- by $1 340eu or $1.70 or whatever the multiplier is, and damages the economy without accomplishing the intended deficit reduction. other countries teame attemptedt austerity -- spain, greece, and portugal particularly have persistent double-dynel i think unemployment -- double-digit unemployment, over 126% i 26% in and greece, and they have anemic or negative economic growth rates. contrast that with the u.s. where a more balanced approach
to the economic crisis yielded an unemployment rate that is still far too high but markedly lower than the austerity countries and economic growth of 2.1% where all the other countries are experiencing negative economic growth -- spain, greece, and portugal. so, let's not fault the president and the administration for deficits that were caused by, a, and economic collapse and, b, the wise decision to avoid the austerity path that has thrown spain and greece into nearly 27% unemployment rates and all three countries into negative g.d.p. growth. we will need to address the debt more and more as economic conditions improve. and senator hatch was correct to
point to health care expense as our biggest national fiscal concern. it would, however, i believe be a misdiagnosis to focus on medicare and medicaid as the source of the health care spending problem. indeed, medicare may be the single-most efficient health care provider in our entire health care system. medicare is a place where the health care cost problem hits the federal budget because the federal budget pays for medicare. but medicare is not the underlying source of the problem. i hope that this was what senator hatch meant when he said that -- quote -- "the problems with the program are systemic" -- end quote. and when he said that the solution is -- quote -- "structural reforms." end quote. i know that one of the leading
health care providers in the country, one of the best, at seeing the health care cost problem problem as systemic and best at addressing it with structural reforms is the health care system in senator hatch's home state of utah, intermountain health care. the senator has a living example at home that health care spending can be addressed through structural reforms, through delivery system reforms. one example is just a few weeks ago intermountain clinicians in utah were recognized for their work in greatly reducing the number of patients who die from sepsis, which is the leading cause of death in u.s. hospitals. so it is no small matter. through a new protocol to better detect and treat sepsis, these doctors and nurses brought the
death rate for septic patients entering through the emergency room down from over 20% five years ago to under 9%. these advances have saved hundreds of lives in utah, and they are a model to be applied by hospitals around the world. that's an example of how the real problem in health care is the total cost of the underlying system. we pay more for health care than any other developed nation. here's the united states. at 17.6% of our gross domestic product spent on health care. the most expensive and least efficient other industrialized nation in the world is the netherlands at 12%. behind it fall france and germany at 11.6%, switzerland at 11.4%, england and japan at 9.6% and 9.5% respectively.
if we could simply make our health care system in this country as bad as the worst other industrialized country in terms of efficiency, if we could just meet the standard met by the least efficient other country in the world, we would save about $800 billion a year. so there is a huge, huge savings opportunity in the health care system. for all that extra spending, for that $800 billion a year extra spending that we do, do we get great outcomes? are americans healthier and better cared for than people in those other countries? well, unfortunately, the answer is not at all. each little dot represents one of the oecd countries. this represents life speckcy
from -- expectancy from 72 to 84, which is a pretty good measure of how good the health care system is if it's making you live longer. and this represents the cost per person of health care. and as you can see, virtually everybody is grouped kind of around in here, with reasonably good life expectancies. between 78 and 82. japan has actually driven it up to 83. 78-82. and roughly 2000 -- $2,000 to $4,000 per patient, per individual. you could almost cover them all with my hand. this is the united states of america. below all of them life expectancy, above all of them in cost. so let's not pretend there is
not a lot of room for progress here. and the worst part is this is the rate of growth of our united states health care system. look at this. 1960. i will astound the pages who are listening by telling them i was alive in 1960. i was 5 years old then. $27.4 billion, $2.7 trillion. we spend 100 times as much on health care now as we did when i was 5 years old. we blew through the house way point probably back around -- can't read it -- probably around 1990, and we doubled since them to $2.7 trillion. this is what is happening to our national health care costs. this is our national health care cost curve. if you think with that kind of a
rocketing cost structure that we are going to be able to solve this problem by cutting medicare, that is not going to work. to try to solve that kind of a cost increase problem by cutting medicare benefits is a losing game, and it will cut medicare away to nothing. we have to address the conditions that cause this increase. we have to address the discrepancy between us and other nations, and indeed as the senator from connecticut who is presiding well knows, the discrepancy between different states. his brother is one of the great experts on the discrepancy that allows medicare to pay two and a half more times per patient for a patient in miami than it does for a patient in minneapolis when the patient in minneapolis is getting as good or better care. we've got to be able to get those discrepancieses out of the
system, and when we do, when we do it that way, the savings will fall to medicare and medicaid, indeed 40% of those savings will go into the federal government, medicare, medicaid, v.a., tricare, employee benefits, but it will also help blue cost, it will also help kaiser, it will also help united, it will help all the private companies that pay for private insurance. it will help individuals who have to pay for that rocketing cost now because we run a system that is 50% more inefficient than the least efficient industrialized country that we compete with. so this is a big deal, and it's not just me saying so. some very credible folks agree. president obama's council of economic advisors says that you can save annually out of our health care system $700 billion every year. the national institute of medicine says it's $750 billion
a year. the new england health care institute estimated that it was $850 billion. and a well-regarded group that studies health care called the lou ingroup, -- lewin group, together with george bush's treasury secretary, paul o'neill, estimates that there is $1 trillion a year in savings to be had. so this would look a lot better if instead of $2.7 trillion you were spending only $1.7 trillion. and those are the kind of savings that are conceivable, that are possible. so we really have to focus on that. the commonwealth fund recently released a report that outlines a variety of policies that would accelerate health care delivery system reform and slow health care spending by $2 trillion from 2014-2023. those are the policy ideas we should be considering because those ideas go to the real heart of the cost problem.
going after medicare benefits rather than going directly after the underlying health care cost problem reflects a misdiagnosis of the problem, and when you have a misdiagnosis of the problem, you get the cure wrong. senator hatch was very thoughtful and he offered some specific proposals. i think the proposals to combine deductibles for parts a and b and the limitation on first dollar coverage of medigap plans could well fit into a good health care compromise. i suggest we should also include letting medicare use its substantial market power to negotiate drug prices just as the v.a. now does. it is hard to imagine that our deficit problem could be at the same time as dire as senator hatch has described and at the same time less important than providing this notorious federal
handout to immensely profitable pharmaceutical companies. finally, let me say senator hatch indicated that he thought that the revenue discussion was now done. i would respectfully disagree. the revenue discussion is not done. to date, through the budget control act and through other measures enacted in the last congress, we have cut the deficit by $2.4 trillion. in rough numbers, we have achieved $1.7 trillion of that through spending cuts and then the related interest savings. in contrast, we have only cut the deficit by $700 billion through new revenues, by restoring clinton-era tax rates for the top 1% of income earners. that's what we've done so far. i think it probably is safe to say that the tax rate discussion
is probably done, but we have not even begun to discuss tax loopholes. why should millionaires get more tax benefit against their charitable contributions than middle-class families do? why should a billionaire who builds a wing on a museum and puts his name on it get more tax bang for his charitable buck than the middle-class family who gives to their local church? is protecting that benefit for high-end charitable donors more important than addressing our deficit? how about tax subsidies to the most profitable companies in the world, the big oil behemoths? the american taxpayer is asked to provide money to big and often foreign oil companies.
is keeping big oil lobbyists happy with subsidies from the american people more important than addressing our deficit? should companies and wealthy individuals be allowed to hide their money from the tax man in offshore accounts while working families pay their taxes fair and square? is protecting that tax gimmick more important than addressing the deficit? how about that carried interest trick that allows hedge fund billionaires to treat their income as low tax capital gains while their chauffeurs and their garners, their maids, their executive assistants pay regular income taxes? is it more important to keep that sweet deal running than it is to fix the deficit?
our friends on the other side can't have it both ways. they can't say that the deficit is so desperately important that we have to put medicare, cut food stamps, cut off scientific research, cut the f.b.i. and the national parks and big bird, for lord's sake. that's how important the deficit is. and then say that the deficit is not such a big deal after all. it's less important than tax breaks for offshore corporations, special deals for the pharmaceutical industry, favors for high-income americans that regular families don't get and subsidies to big oil. it can't be both things at once. frankly, even without the
deficit, many of those tax deals are things that we should get rid of just on the merits just because they are sleazy and unfair and the product of washington insider dealing. we should be rid of them. they can't be more important to keep than is addressing the deficit. so while there are surely still ways to trim the deficit by improving inefficient programs and cutting wasteful spending, let's not say tax revenue is done before we have even gotten into the rich trove of tax deals and gimmicks that we give away every year through the tax code. in 2012, corporations benefited from an estimated $127 billion in loopholes and special provisions. the individual income tax code permitted over a trillion dollars in deductions, exclusions and credits just last year, a trillion dollars in one
year. many of those only benefit the wealthiest taxpayers. overall, there are hundreds of billions of dollars a year in tax expenditures that we can use to address the deficit. my last point on revenues is this -- as our friend kent conrad, the former chairman of the budget committee, used to point out, every time in recent history that we have had a balanced budget, every time we have had a balanced budget in recent history, we balanced it with revenues and spending around 20% of gross domestic product. our revenues are now at about 16% of gross domestic product. if we balanced our budget at that level, at 16% of gross domestic product, it would be the lowest level of federal spending since 1951. when half of the federal budget still went to the department of
defense and half of american seniors still lived in poverty. they say the republican party wants to go backwards, but do they really want to go back to that? that would change our country dramatically and for the worse. at a time when even with federal student aid, the cost of college remains unaffordable for too many aspiring students. when our energy and technology infrastructure is lagging and our transportation infrastructure is crumbling and when our international competitors are making greater investments in 21st century innovations than we are. mr. president, saving money by reforming how we deliver health care isn't just possible, it is happening around us. a 2008 report from the dartmouth atlas project held up some promising examples, predicting that using the mayo clinic as a
benchmark, the nation could reduce health care spending by as much as 30% for acute and chronic illnesses, a benchmark based on senator hatch's home state company intermountain health care -- quote -- "predicts a reduction of more than 40%." so let's get to work together in bipartisan fashion to give american families the health care system they deserve. instead of waste and inefficiency, poor outcomes and missed opportunities, let's have a health care system that is the envy of the world, not an outlier on high cost and low results. this approach has a triple benefit. it protects seniors and families who rely on medicare and medicaid, it improves patient outcomes and makes our experience with the health care system better in terms of results, and it dials back health care spending and helps protect us from that exploding
cost. the alternative, slashing benefits, does nothing to curb the underlying cost problem, and it certainly doesn't improve care. it only does one thing -- harms seniors and degrades the programs that they count on during a 2011 help committee hearing that i chaired, greg paulson, of utah's intermountain health care said -- and i quote -- "intermountain and other organizations have shown that improving quality is compatible with lowering costs and, indeed, high-quality care is generally less expensive than substandard care." so let's have this be our guiding principle as we work together to ease the burden of excessive health costs on both the federal balance sheet and on our fellow americans' pocketbooks. i yield the floor.
mr. president, may i ask unanimous consent that the period of morning business be now extended until 6:30 p.m., with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: i yield the floor. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
quorum call:
mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent that following leader remarks thursday, january 31 the senate proceed to calendar number 7, h.r. 325, the following amendments be the only first-degree amendments in order to the bill: portman dollar for
dollar cuts, shutdown government prevention, toomey full faith and credit, paul prohibition, f-16 egypt. the only motion to commit in order to the bill be a vitter amendment regarding spending cuts. the time until 12:15 tomorrow be for debate on the amendments, motion on the bill to run equally divided between the leaders or their designees. prior to votes in relation to the amendments and the vitter motion in the order listed. upon disposition of the amendments and the vitter motion the senate proceed to vote on passage of h.r. 325 as amended if amended. the amendments in the vitter motion be subject to a 60 affirmative motion threshold, there be no amendments in order to any of the amendments or the vitter motion prior to the votes. there be two minutes equally divided prior to each vote and all after the first vote be ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from oklahoma.
mr. inhofe: reserving the right to object. thank you. first of all, let me make a comment if i could through the chair. it is my hope that we don't have, ultimately have sequestration with the military with the defense department. i've been very concerned about that and do everything i can to preclude that from happening. in the event that did happen, we are looking at about a month from now, and i have an amendment that i wanted to put on this bill. i could do it with any other way too, perhaps as a free-standing bill. i'd like to explain what it is and ask the distinguished majority leader a couple of questions. the amendment that i had, or it could be in a free-standing bill, would give the secretary of defense the flexibility to implement the cuts under the sequestration in the least harmful way possible. it would authorize him to have the power to make adjustments within the confines of the
sequestration so that there would not be any more money. it would not change that. but it would allow the chiefs to examine and determine whether or not they could make some changes to make something that would be catastrophic maybe less catastrophic. it's one that i supplied the leader's office a copy of. what i'd like to do -- i don't want to object to this because i don't want to be -- i want to make sure this continues on. but i would like to ask if i could have some latitude to help me to get this before the senate so that we could accomplish this. i have already, i would say this through the chair to the leader, that i've already talked to all of the, not just the chairman of the joint chiefs, but the chiefs. they all say that in a period of one month -- and quite frankly, they're starting right now to see if there's something they can put together to make it less
onerous should we have to have that. and so i would like to ask if there is something that could be done through the leadership to help me to get this done if the worst should happen and we should be faced with sequestration a month from now. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: through you to the distinguished senator from oklahoma, the ranking member of the armed services committee, as the leader for the republicans on that committee, he understands the importance of the military and what sequestration would do. now i've spoken to the distinguished senator previously , in fact as late as this morning we talked. there are democrats who also believe that there should be some relief given in regard to sequestration. and the issue that we have now that we have to work through is
how we have a balance between the cuts in defense and non-defense. and so there are many different ways we can approach this. but i am committed to approaching this. i have said, and i will continue to say, that sequestration was the last resort. we thought we would do better with the supercommittee. we didn't. so this is what we're faced with. and i hope that we can all work together to lessen the burden on defense spending and, of course, non-defense spending. that is what sequestration is all about. i'm committed to do that. i'm happy to work with my friend from oklahoma. if he can't find enough allies, either republicans or democrats, i'll be happy to continue to work with him to figure out a way that we can have this issue brought before the senate.
mr. inhofe: and mr. chairman? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: through the chair, i would make a comment that many times the distinguished leader has been helpful in the highway bill and the pilots bill of rights and others. i would have to say i would not have been able to get them through without that support. what i would ask for is the same support to help me overcome some of the problems that would come with sequestration. giving an example, sequestration would cancel flying operations for four out of nine aircraft and aircraft carriers which would take about 9 to 12 months to restore at a cost of two to three times as much. what they could do through the -- with this bill, which i plan to introduce tomorrow, is have the latitude, while spending the same amount of money, keep the flying hours where they are so they don't have to be restored in another vehicle.
little things like that that are significant. and it also would address the problems that come, that we hear every day from the secretaries of the military, the various departments and the chiefs having to do with the other problem on the c.r. so this would address both of them and give latitude and make it better. i would just say that i would hope that the leader could assist me in getting this bill that i'll be introducing through -- in a timely fashion. mr. reid: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: my choice and i'm confident the choice of the distinguished senator from oklahoma is to avoid sequestration, and we need to do this through some type of balanced plan, and i'm committed to do that. mr. inhofe: i appreciate that very much, mr. president. i do not object to it. mr. reid: mr. president, i would finally say it's not as if the senator from oklahoma is asking to not do -- he's not
asking that the actual amount of dollars be lessened. he's just saying that they should be rearranged differently. so i appreciate his goodwill on this legislation. we need to get this bill to the president. so it's my intention at the end of the use or yielding back to time to move to table these amendments and the vitter motion. we expect to have one vote prior to the senate recessing for caucus meetings and the remaining votes after the meetings. i stkpres my appreciate -- express my appreciation to the senator from oklahoma. i know how he feels about the military and he wants to try to relieve the pain in some way. the presiding officer: without objection, the request is agreed to. mr. reid: i ask consent the judiciary committee be discharged from s. res. 13 and now we proceed to that matter
here in the senate. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 13 congratulating the members of delta sigma theta sore sorority incorporated for 100 years of service and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the committee is discharged. and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. res. 22. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 22, recognizing the goals of catholic schools week and honoring the valuable contributions of catholic schools in the united states. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to
the measure? without objection, so granted. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask that the preamble also be agreed to. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent that the appointments at the desk appear separately in the record as if made by the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, thursday, january 31. following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings journal of proceedings be
approved for date and the time for the leaders be reserved. following leader remarks the senate proceed to consideration of h.r. 325 under the previous order. following the first vote in relation to the debt limit legislation the senate recess until 2:15 p.m. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i mentioned this, there will be one roll call vote at about 12:15 tomorrow and as many as five votes after 2:15 p.m. if there is no further business to come before the senate i ask that it adjourn under the previous order following the remarks of senator chambliss and senator isakson, and they will speak for up to six minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. chambliss: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. chambliss: mr. president, it gives me pleasure to rise today to recognize a georgia resident and my good personal
friend, davis love iii on being named the recipient of the 2013 bob jones award. the award named in honor of another great georgia golfer robert tyre jones jr. is the u.s. golf association's highest honor and recognizes individuals for their distinguished sportsmanship in golf. since 1955, the bob jones award has been presented annually to an individual who emulates jones' spirit, his personal qualities and his attitude toward the game and its players. past recipients include some of golf's all-time greats such as byron nelson, ben hogan, arnold palmer, jack nicholas and tom watson. it comes as no surprise to see davis love's name added to this distinguished list. davis and his wife robin are longtime residents of georgia, and davis is receiving an award that embodies much of our
state's rich golfing history. he has long been a champion of the game and embraced many of golf's finest traditions. throughout his impressive career, davis has represented our country with dignity and honor. in the 1985 walker cup match, davis helped lead the u.s.a. team to a narrow 13-11 victory over great britain and ireland by winning two matches on the final day of play. he is also a six-time member of the president's cup team and has been a member of the u.s. rider cup team seven times and was captain of last year's ryder cup time. since he earned his p.g.a. tour card in 1995, davis love iii has won 20 events including a major, the 1997 p.g.a. championship. he is also a two-time winner of the prestigious players championship and finished at the top of the leader board in many
of golf's other major tournaments. his respect and love for the game is admired by fellow players and golf fans around the world. i can think of no other professional golfer who is more deserving of this award than is davis love iii and i congratulate he and robin on being named the recipient of of the 2013 bob jones award. and i yield the floor. mr. isakson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: yesterday the senate overwhelmingly confirmed the nomination of john kerry to be the next secretary of state of the united states of america. i was away from the capitol during the two hours allocated for that debate and i wanted to add my comments and my commendments to secretary kerry, now secretary kerry on his confirmation to be secretary of state of our country. for the last four years i had the privilege of serving on the foreign relations committee with chairman kerry as chairman.
during i watched him on the comprehensive peace agreement in the sudan to help shepard across the creation of the newest nation, south sudan, and a bloodless election that caused that to take place. i watched him in many other cases dealing with diplomats from africa, to europe, to the middle east, representing the united states of america and all of its best interests. and i watched him work hand in hand with secretary of state clinton to ensure that there was no division between the senate foreign relations committee and the policies of this country. but most importantly of all, on those tough, tough issues, like the ratification of the new start treaty, secretary kerry -- now secretary kerry, then chairman kerry, made sure that every member of the committee,
in the entire markup and hearing process, had their questioned answered, their concerns answered, and was a part of the process. he never tried to ramrod anything through the committee nor through the congress but, rather, did his job in an exemplary way. so it's a privilege for me to rise tonight to pay tribute to john kerry, the next secretary of state of the united states of america and commend him on his confirmation to that job. and i yield back and note the absence -- and i yield back. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
>> one can't count the times that americans favor the best country in the world. what a marvelously thing to say. of all the countries in the world, everybody thinks their countries pretty good. why do we have to believe that we are the best? what does that mean? why do we have to assert it all of the time? and what does it mean to other people who consume? american projects go around the world information products, so
you observe in every corner of the world. and we teach them not to lacus for two at a slave. >> now, today's white house briefing with jay carney. he answers questions on economic growth and economic policy. this is 50 minutes. >> i have no announcements to make, so i'll take questions. [inaudible]
[inaudible] [inaudible] >> there's a lot in your question, so let me go first to the broader, which is we have seen job growth. home prices are craving back. there's more work to do our economy, which goes to your point. talk about letting sequester kick in assert that were acceptable being viewed by as the republicans were on this issue not that long ago. it makes clear again this is a political brinksmanship of the
kind that results in one primary effect done and that's american taxpayers, the american middle-class. you are correct the gdp number we saw today was driven in part, in large part at a sharp decrease in defense spending, the sharpest drop since 1972. and really some of that has to do with the uncertainty created by the prospect of sequester. to the end of your question, i would say that the president has had and continues to have very detailed proposals, including spending cuts that would completely do away with the sequester is enacted, that approach is deficit reduction, not just the $1.2 trillion called for by the sequester, but even beyond that in a balanced way and the president looks forward to moving forward and making continuing progress with congress to reduce their deficit
in a balanced way. but we've been having a similar debate now for a long time and that is, to admit progress in a balanced they are deficit or do we inflict harm on our economy here in washington at a time when our economy is actually showing very positive sign and were independent economic forecasters predict that as long as washington doesn't get in the way and do something foolish to our economy, that we should have continued economic growth and job creation this year at a steady pace. so it can't be willed that sequester kick in because we insist that tax loopholes remain where they are for corporate jet owners or subsidies provided to the oil and gas companies that have done so exceedingly well in recent years have to remain in place. that's not a position that will
earn a lot of support with the american people. >> as you know, tax reform can't be done in short order. is there something the president has in mind to do with this quickly? harry reid has suggested to msn increments. would that be something that the president would be willing to consider? >> well, the president has been and continues to be interested in doing that they can still possible. not that was true when he worked towards a grand bargain with the speaker of the house in the summer of 2011. he was sure they when he worked on a big deal but unfortunately the speaker walked away from at the end of last year. what seems to be true now as we are doing this, as the president has said, and increments. we achieve 2.000000000000 deficit reduction. we need to do more to read that level of 4 trillion over 10
years that would put us on a sustainable fiscal path for a decade. the mechanisms of getting their eye something that we will evaluate s. proposals are put forward. the president's position on how we could achieve this is detailed and clear. the offer he made to speaker boehner, which is broadly recognized as coming at least halfway to the republican position as a good faith offer that would have achieved, if enacted, brought deficit reduction remains on the table if republicans are interested in engaging on that. so what we can't do -- it's disheartening, although we have moved at least temporarily beyond the flirtation with the fall, to see republican leaders say i've got sequester in my back pocket. it's not a game. it's the american economy. we should let the government
shut down because it would be good for member management and other house republicans later on the record. i think the american people, those who pay attention to this issue are rightly appalled by those kinds of tactics that do harm to their lives, do harm to the economy and the name of achieving some political object is here in washington. >> israel conducted an airstrike in syria. i wondered if the president was aware of that as he endorsed that military action? >> i don't have any comment for you on those reports. a retreat to the government is surreal for questions about deliberations or actions that may or may not taken. i just don't have anything for you on it. yes. >> on sequestration, senator reid mentioned yesterday taken a look at oil and gas and tax
breaks as one way for sequestration. i think that's what you just mentioned. i'm just wondering, how actively as the white house working on not an in sequestration are not specific point and how concern is the white house that getting rid of these would affect what is one of the few bright spots in the economy, all the jobs and economies. >> one of the few bright spots? i contest that. i think there has been, as i just noted, a month to month job creation. there was positive economic growth in 2012, 2011 and we continue to believe this as i that unless actions by those in
washington take us in a different direction, we will see positive economic growth and job creation this year. so the idea that you need to subsidize an industry that has enjoyed record profits that taxpayers have to subsidize just doesn't make sense at a time when we have to make choices about how best to use their resources. the speaker of the house boehner put forward, in theory at least, a proposal late last year the city could buy an $800 billion in revenues through tax reform allowed, closing up loopholes and capping deductions. so surely, was a good idea then can certainly be a bad idea now. it's achievable. significant revenue is achievable through tax reform and has to be part of a balanced approach, an approach, which is always in the president's
proposals seem more spending cuts and revenue and that reflects the balance that allows as to make sure that the burden of deficit reduction is not borne solely by senior citizens are the middle-class, but more broadly, but i suppose the ice to pay their fair share to play by the same set of rules. that's just an approach that is broadly supported by the american people and make sense as it did in getting us to the $2.5 trillion deficit reduction we receive so far. it makes sense in getting us further along the road. >> today's report seemed to the point burning for growth, obviously. i guess i'm wondering how the white house is actually looking for a shift in balance from cuts, from deficit reduction, to growth measures. the >> i was just a question because as you know and other similar
proposal the president has put forward in the series of negotiations and a base of the republicans reduction, every proposal has included significant investments in our economy and infrastructure and education, including teachers and police officers back on the street. now everyone of those proposals have been by and large opposed by republicans, but they represent the president's view that deficit reduction is not a goal unto itself. it should be in service of the broader goal, which is positive economic growth and job creation and we need to continue to invest wisely to ensure that our economy grows. invest in infrastructure, for example, doesn't just create jobs in the near term. it helps build the foundation for sustained economic growth in the decades to come. investing in clean energy technologies and industries
serves a purpose. it helps create jobs now. it helps ensure that we will compete and dominate the industry the 21st century and ensure those good paying jobs in the future continue to find themselves here rather than abroad. so that's always been the president strategy. it's contained within the proposal he made the speaker boehner at the end of the year and he will always continue to insist that even as we reduce our deficit that we make sure irritate the next steps necessary to growth. across-the-board cut to education, research and development but have damaging effects on our economy and our long-term economic prospects.
they also have damaging effects on border security. people tend to forget the sequester is divided into defense and nondefense. the nondefense includes funding for border security, an issue that is very comical these days. we should do the responsible thing and make sure we move forward with balance deficit reduction. >> 15-year-old girl, hadiya pendeleton was shot in chicago yesterday not far from the president's house. a week ago she was here. i'm wondering if you could share reaction. >> welcome as a a terrible tragedy. so much of the life ahead of them and receive far too often. the president and first lady's thoughts and prayers are with the family. oliver thoughts and prayers.
as the president said, we can never eradicate act of evil in, but if we could even save one child slaves we have an obligation to try when it comes to gun violence. the president has more than once, when he talks about gun violence in america preferred not just to the horror of newtown or aurora or virginia tech, the two shootings on the corner in chicago or the price of the country and this is just another example of the problems that we need to deal with. i do not >> will the president attended hadiya pendeleton's funeral? >> i have no announcements to make. >> has he reached out to the family? >> i don't have any communications to redial.
>> when you look at a tragedy like this, comes at a time when chicago has seen such a scorcher gun violence. this is a city that has some of the strongest gun control laws, strictest gun control laws in the country and has seen in the outbreak of gun violence. does that give us any lessons for dealing with the issue? >> i think these issues particular to a single city within a broader state and country having come ons of one kind verses come on cells where. people address that issue in a talk about washington d.c. it's just across the river from virginia. but i think the broader point is that i've had just said well you may not be able to prevent every act of gun violence, surely we won't be a little to rent every act of gun violence. we need to take reaction to reduce gun violence. wave action on commonsense measures that do not infringe
upon our second amendment rights, that do not take away any law abiding american citizen , but make sure were doing everything we can in a responsible way to reduce this violence, to protect our children, including hadiya pendeleton and others. the fact that we can't solve this problem entirely doesn't mean we shouldn't try to solve it in part. >> democrats like heidi heitcamp who are a member of the president's party are skeptical of the idea that the control out of the way to go about this. several democrats in the senate think this is just not the right way to go. what is the president trying to convince members of his own party in the senate that are against the measures? >> is that conversations at various lawmakers on this issue,
including those who have strong record of support for second amendment rights. and i would note that the president has a strong record for support of the second amendment. the point he's making and the point that a lot of people at the making, including lawmakers is that we can do commonsense things that still protect the second amendment rights and that address this problem and address it in a broad array than just her gun control legislation, although that is an important piece in what he saw the president moved quickly with their vice presidents assistants and leadership to put forward that package of proposals because we need to do some in nevada. yes, sir.
>> regarding religious liberty faith issues, economically and otherwise who believe that our religious, state religious liberty and life come from jesus, not men. >> i'm sorry, i didn't get the question. >> i'll rephrase that. basically the christian church in our nation are concerned about the moral decline in our nation and how faith and religious liberty issues in life are crucial, from declaration of independence, and how they would believe that our rights come from jesus, not men. how would the administration respond to that? >> i'm not sure i have an administration response. the president as a man of faith believes very deeply in the importance that it plays in his life and understands clearly the importance of place in the lives
of so many millions of americans. yes, major. >> is the gdp report good news or bad news? >> i don't think anytime you see a reduction in economic growth that it's goodness, but i think we need to understand what lies underneath the come in particular in defense spending, which is consistent with what we know has been going on in preparation for the possibility of sequester, the case was the interference of cluster was supposed to kick and on january 1st and off course we have a new deadline for that. the broader point i think, and i think there has been some reporting to reflect this, but there remains, even within this report, indications whether it's housing or consumer spending or business investments, that we
continue to be poised for positive economic growth and job creation and we need to make sure in washington we are not taking actions that undercut that progress that we have been making and can continue to make and will make. we need to take steps that encourage and foster it and hope it a lot and that's what the president believes we have to be balanced and we shouldn't flirt with things like default or shut down or sequestered. we should get about the business of reaching compromise in a way that reflects broad public sentiment about how we should do it and make sure, as to your point earlier, but even as we reduce our deficit, for making necessary investments to allow our economy to continue to grow. >> i remember because i was there, senator obama often says
it's not necessarily a recipe for a healthy u.s. economy. consumer driven or come which sometimes increased at, and a real estate bubble. when a broader, more fundamental sense of economic growth and economic stability. is there anything in the most recent gdp report that indicates that's not happening? >> well, i haven't seen anyone suggest that the fact that housing racket has been rebounding from the burst of the housing bubble but that's a sign, that that's a bad economic sign in the business and this may increase as a positive economic sign. i think when we talk about broader economic growth, whether it's manufacturing or other areas of the economy, the breath is what matters here. we have seen over the course of many quarters now brought economic growth.
not enough. that said the president insists we take action and this is number one priority that we take measures to help the economy grow and create jobs and we do it in a way that protects and expands the middle class. >> i gather which are trying to say about sequestration, would it be something akin to madness a sturdy right now? is that something you would agree with? >> i think the point of sequester come sequestration and i imagine people in their home shudder of a time that he receives the spurs because they sound like washington speak, but the point of the trigger that created these across-the-board cuts, evenly divided between defense and nondefense waste to make them settle on rs that that fact would compel congress to come up with specific, sensible deficit reduction. the president put forward a proposal to the super committee
that reflected the balance that was inherent in every serious bipartisan proposal, including the simpson/bowles proposal, a refusal at the time to allow revenue to be a part of that. it meant the super committee did not produce and the president has continued to push this principle forward. it is the principal proudly supported by the american people and makes the most sense for economic growth. >> is imperative to avoid at this stage? march versus enemy deadline. it's not imaginary. it's not theoretical. >> well, i'm a or at the top we disagree those in congress to suggest it would be a good thing are welcome to to have in your back pocket to make happen for us to use as a means of member management, inflict deemed damage on the economy to achieve some political cause in washington seems like a bad idea and we do not support it.
>> is there legislation to avoid at? >> we have legislation to avoid it. >> buddha push it a couple three months? >> the president believes we should do with this and the reigning portion of the poll of $4 trillion of deficit reduction as a whole, and not proposal that remains on the table is available to republicans if they choose to take it. we are interested in avoiding sequester. and i don't want to prejudge how negotiations are conversations are proposals to do that might come forward. but we do not agree with the principle that seems to be increasingly voiced by some republicans on capitol hill that some of sequester is a good thing. >> and i just follow-up on that? unlike a government shutdown were to fall, sequester is an example of something if the congress doesn't do its job.
congress did its job to create the sequestered help design it. the point was to be so onerous that no one would want it to have been. well, sounds like people are rethinking and are willing to have it happen. i'm wondering did you miscalculate when you design this thing that was supposed to be so horrendous that people would be for us to their senses as an alternative? >> i could reach you quote after quote after quote from republicans saying how desperately important it is to avoid sequestered because of the impact. the negative impact in the past. and if they change their minds, they changed their minds for apparently nakedly political reasons. >> what would those be? the political reasons? >> assessor in "the wall street journal," speaker boehner suggests that have been sequester in the back pocket is a good thing in terms of negotiations. that is not a positive way to approach an issue that does harm to our economy and even the
uncertainty the possibility creates has contributed to the gdp number we've seen today. our point is there are responsible ways to do with it. at the american public believes that we have to be responsible in the way that we deal with it and the president has put forward a good-faith proposal that that republicans more than halfway in the effort to achieve significant deficit reduction and a balanced way that does sellout across-the-board cuts in defense and nondefense spending that everybody understands to be a bad thing. we look forward to working with republicans and democrats to enact that approach because it's the right thing to do. >> what exactly are you talking about? >> the widely reported proposal the president put on the table with speaker of the house remains on the table and that
includes the spending cuts, the health care entitlement reforms and the revenue. so the portion of that proposal that was enacted when we doubt it's the fiscal cliff obviously you take out. everything else remains the president's position and demonstrates he's going to make tough choices. he is willing to enact spending cuts as long as we address deficit reduction in a balanced way. you know, we need and expect, you know, a similar minded approach to this problem from republicans, one assumes the american people and the american economy. >> speaker boehner also reportedly said the president told him personally this country does not have a spending problem. did that happen?
>> well, you know, there's a lot of conversations about reports internally. i don't have a readout of any president's personal conversations with the speaker or anyone else to provide to you. anyone who speaks to this issue, including deficit hawks in washington, will tell you that health care spending is a major driver of our deficits in the future. so that's why the president believed that we need to address health care spending through the affordable care act. that's why he has put forward significant entitlement reforms that help address the issue of health care spending going forward. so i don't think there's anything inconsistent. i'm not confirming a conversation. i'm simply saying that it, of course, is a fact that our health care entitlement spending is something that we need to address and the president has actively and substantially addressed it and continues to address it in the quotes he put
forward. but it's also true is nondefense discretionary spending, putting aside entitlements, putting aside defense is at its lowest level since dwight eisenhower. so the president has been very serious about spending cuts. don't forget, he signed into law a $2.5 trillion in spending cuts, and wants to do more as long as we do it in a balanced way. because it's not fair to say that oil and gas can't aeneas or corporate jet owners or others who enjoy benefits, hedge fund managers, through the loopholes in our tax code should be held high mesabi asked senior citizen to pay more. that's just -- he doesn't believe that reflects a balanced approach we need to take. >> given the level of nondefense discretionary spending believe we do not have a problem.
>> i'm not sure what rhetorical game are trying to engage in. what is true as we have health care spending problem. that's what the president addresses in the affordable care act and the proposals he put forward. and he has addressed it and discretionary spending cuts and he has said he would put forward more spending cuts. very spending cuts in his proposal before the speaker of the house. now you can take that and make it mean something else, but that would not be honest. >> on another matter, jay? marsha blackburn has challenged the president's about skeet shooting at camp david. she's she skeptical of damages has she's a better skeet shooter than he is and wants to be invited to camp david for a contest. your reaction? >> i have not. [laughter] >> the nra's wayne lapierre has refuted the idea that universal
background checks would make a difference, in part pointing to the administration's record of not prosecuting those who have found it a legally purchased guns. what's the administration's response? >> it's a logical fallacy to suggest the unit also background checks will make a difference. we absolutely have to enforce the law and we need to improve our background check system. that is an issue on which the nra and wayne lapierre is in a distinct minority. so i also can tell you everyone here disheartened to see gabrielle giffords testify today. she and her husband will be with the president is looking forward to. >> when is the president going to speaking out on that? >> well, he will continue to make this a priority and you'll hear from him on this issue in the future, but it had a scheduling schedule
announcements to make. >> will he appear publicly with gabrielle giffords this afternoon? >> i don't have that expectation. is that forward to her. >> jay, they can make immigration for a moment. senator marco rubio set up to the president strikes yesterday that he was concerned the president didn't seem to have an enforcement trigger that would have to be in place before he grant the path to citizenship. and he said his reason for that was that if there wasn't such a trigger in place, we would've the country faced the prospect of having another huge influx of illegal immigration, similar to what happened after the 86th. what scope for compromise do you see issue with republicans like mr. rubio? and do you accept the contention that there is a risk of large numbers of illegal immigrants if that sort of a linkage isn't in place? >> let me say a couple things.
first of all, the president's commitment to and seriousness about enforcement of our borders and advise against illegal immigration is demonstrated by the record. and that is a fact that was echoed in comments by senator mccain. we have made significant progress in order enforcement and the president is committed. you heard him talk yesterday that one of the four pillars of this comprehensive approach is to continue the progress we've made in border enforcement. so that's an important point to know when we talk about this. the president believes that made this clear yesterday that we have to have a spread of the comprehensive immigration reform, a clear path to citizenship. one that includes fines and
fees, background checks, all the criteria necessary and then you get to go to the end of the line, but there has to be a clear path, a path that ends in citizenship. now in terms of the specific comments, we've heard a variety of things from those active on this issue in both parties in the senate and there's not clarity at all as i've heard it in terms of the view on this issue or what would be included in legislation is produced. so we're not going going to prejudge, you know, legislation and hasn't been written yet. the president believes we have to have a clear path. he also believes and is committed to border enforcement and border security. >> can i just follow-up? is that there is a clear path in a clear path in the outside without enforcement triggers? >> again, i don't want to prejudge -- i don't want to rule out a role in something, but there's not a debate on anything
specific. this! i think you've heard a variety of things from different members of that group about what that means. and we will wait to judge legislation and legislation is written. what i think is clear, as senator mccain said, is this president, working with congress has been committed to enhancing our border security and enforcement. that is demonstrated fact after fact, some of which i listed the other day. the president is committed to continued progress and that's an important component of immigration reform. the president sees it as a post and. we have to do both in order to make this work. >> would he support -- but not a precondition? >> again, you're asking me to make a judgment about something that does not exist in legislation. our point is the record is clear
but the presidents commitment to border security and it is a fundamental principle in his proposal that we need to do more. >> would he support a guestworker program for the skilled workers? >> we will look to the senate by the congress to develop proposals on this issue at the congress desires. we would want to make sure that it protects workers, including immigrant workers and is actually based on data driven workforce demands, rather than political win. so again i'm not going to prejudge something that hasn't been written up in legislation. first peter, then zach. >> it's during the conversation of immigration, by streamlining the illegal immigration, and noted to treat same-sex families by giving u.s. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the base of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner. as the president went to give in on that issue in an effort for
legislation passed? >> that position is consistent with the president's views and legislation introduced in congress and the president's proposal tracks that previous legislation proposal. the president has long believed that americans who same-sex partners from other countries should not be phased with the painful choice between staying with the person they love or staying in the country they love. so that's his position entirely consistent with where he spent about the legislation has been. >> harry reid, the senate majority victor on the issue of immigration, on the issues that i will work tirelessly to make reform a reality in the senate. but he was far less forward an optimistic when it came to guns saying i'm committed to ensuring the senate will consider legislation that addresses gun violence. does the president can say that immigration could be a much easier course for him and guns right now in an effort going forward?
>> you would never get the president make judgments like that. he does not believe this important work is easy. if there were easy, it would've been done already. so both issues are important. both issues have the president support and he will continue to work with congress to take action on both fronts. >> said nothing to be read into the first trip on the issue of immigration? >> while prior to back him the first big event if you will, of his second term, was on the issue of gun violence. so there's an astronaut with a aching to get us to rank priorities. i think the president has a series of top priorities, none greater than continued economic growth and job creation, but also immigration reform, addressing gun violence, dealing with their energy policies. these are all important priorities. the american people didn't send
members of congress or the president to washington to work just on one issue. peter, did you have -- >> are just going to rest on the question. general john allen said a knockout blow needs to be delivered to taliban and other criminal networks to ensure that gains by american combat troops after they leave. is the u.s. confident that the afghans will be able to knock out the malicious element of the taliban without hope of the united states? >> as you know, the united states continues in afghanistan. we are winding down and the president has made clear his policy. as we have done that and as we continue to do that, we continue to assist afghanistan in the building i've been training at the afghan national security forces. that's the right policy. in the end, there has to be both reconciliation in the turbine afghanistan, but there have to be afghan forces that are in can
be responsible for security. the process to afghan security forces is arty underway and will continue as american forces drawdown. sorry, zach. >> two questions. first on the sequestered. does the president believed that the past march 1st at night would be kind of a mortal economic blow like the fiscal cliff in debt limit? is there more room at the deadline to come up with the proposal for how to do so, but is there room to manage, unlike the fiscal cliff in the debt limit? >> well, i think all of us here would hesitate to rank terrible things in order of their terribleness. so the fact is we shouldn't get to that point and we didn't get to the point where the fault was contemplated that any real way this time because last time he was merely contemplated.
it had severe negative effects effects on our economy. we've arty scene, you know, data that reflects in this economist estimates the impact of uncertainty caused by the sequestered. it's clearly a bad thing. we shouldn't do that. we should instead address the issue in a responsible, sober way that ensures we move toward deficit reduction, do we do it in a way that allows the economy to continue to grow, that doesn't involve political brinksmanship for trump cards are things out of your back pocket or shutting down the government because it's useful politically. we should go about the business of helping the american economy and three that the american people. >> does the white house had the capacity to manage tags so there's more time to come to an agreement?
>> i think again looking for exit ramps here are all these problems is a diversion from the real issue, which is the need to address the fiscal challenges in a way that balanced and responsible. >> and immigration quickly -- sorry. the president said yesterday he would drop a bill, chop legislation you have been working on if congress can't get it together in the coming weeks. can you give specificity and what it means, which are written to see before the president decides whether to do that or not? >> i thought you were going to say can you give a date certain and i was not going to provide a timetable. the president is encouraged by the progress we've seen in congress. you heard them make that point yesterday. it reflects the fact theatergoing consensus in this country behind support for comprehensive immigration reform he will -- we will monitor the progress of congress that their efforts to produce legislation bogged down, we are prepared,
having done a lot of work on this issue, to submit a bill on the president's behalf. it would be the president's bill to move it as the senate to vote on it. we hope the positive steps we've seen taken aspired, especially in the senate are just the beginning of a process that will and in legislation that has bipartisan support, that means the test of the principles the president has the authority and its blueprints that can clear the senate and house of the president would sign. the certainly be the best outcome in the president's view. april. >> jay, could you give us a tick tock of how the was informed about william "mo" cowan, the person who now appointed as a replacement for senator kerry? >> i don't have a tape tokamak. he may have found out the way
the rest of the dead when he thought, but is the governor of massachusetts prerogative to appoint an interim senator, as i understand it. so, as you know, senator kerry yesterday notified the vice president, governor, and senate leadership of his resignation, which becomes the fact that friday at 4:00 p.m. and governor patrick has appointed a successor, a temporary successor until there is an election. but i don't have a tick-tock beyond the fact that it was announced today. >> he made it clear that it was really more of a diversity pick, take in an african american to fill. any thoughts about that? >> well, the president is encouraged to a record number of women and african-americans in the u.s. senate and hopes there'll be more more diversity to come because he believes diversity at to the quality of debate and reflects the richness of this nation.
but that would be just a broad reaction. >> and another on the subject of guns. former baltimore city mayor, curt schmoke is questioning the viability of the atf when it comes to guns and controlling. it's been in existence for 75 years, billion-dollar budget, 5000 employees, does the need to be revamped? sevigny abolished? what? >> well, one thing it needs is a confirmed director, which it is which it is like six years since that position was maybe confirmable posts. so the president has called on congress to act swiftly on this nominee. that would certainly be an important step towards ensuring that the atf does the work that is supposed to do and does it well. >> but this goes beyond six years? >> i don't have an assessment to make of that. i would point you to develop an ag threes seats, including
department of justice. the one step we need to take right away this seems simple is for the senate to come from the head of the atf. roger. >> banks. back to gdp for a moment. the economy coming to a standstill in the fourth quarter, is the magnitude enough to cause administration to lower its economic growth forecast going forward, or is that not enough? >> well, i don't make the sport pass another point you to forecast of independent and outside economists about the potential, anyway covered the expectation that this year will see continued economic growth and job creation. the one caveat in that interview is that we believe that will happen as long as washington and in this case, congress, in particular republicans in congress, don't inflict wounds
on the economy unnecessarily. you know, i think americans believe that at the very least, washington, when it comes to the economy, should do no harm, but they actually expect more. they expect us to enact policies that are sensible, reduce the deficit in a responsible and balanced way and that's the approach the president has taken in terms of forecast i will give it to the professionals. stan, sorry. >> the concern in israel about chemical weapons in the status of chem bio weapons in syria. you may not have seen syrian government controlled weapons and the poison gas could change at any time. do we have a continuous confidence building eyes on the status? >> we are constantly monitoring serious proliferation sensitive materials. that includes obviously chemical weapons and facilities. we believe serious chemical weapons stockpile remains under
syrian government control. this is not to contemporary report, the reports in the past. i can say we have seen no information to confirm reports of chemical weapons used in syria, but are constantly monitoring. the president has made clear what is spent my with regards to the use of our proliferation of chemical weapons. so again, we monitor regularly. >> just a quick follow undergone undergone -- there've been 72 dozen cases where and 2010, just a single year, 72 dozen people were denied gun purchase based on background checks. another was 72,000 people illegally tried to buy a gun in 2010, but only 62 cases were referred for prosecution. why are so few of the current gun laws being prosecuted? >> part of the overall approach needs to be enforcement of the laws that we have and that
includes making a background check system that is not complete, that has enormous supposed to the capacity for somebody not to submit to a background check at the federal gun show or buy from a private seller. so identifying a problem does not refute that they are further problems. >> but this is 72 dozen people or try to buy illegally. only 62 were prosecuted as >> as part of an issue that needs to be addressed. the sighting of that statistic is designed to divert attention from another issue that is part of this, the need for broader and universal background checks, a position that we need to enforce the law. i'm not going to get into discretion in enforcement. a something of it directed the department of justice. but you know, as we heard
earlier, this is being pushed as a reason not to do some thing that the overwhelming majority of the american people support. and you know, those kind of tactics, i don't think are the right ones from the pole here should be working together to address the problem of gun violence. >> thanks, jay. >> donovan, last one. >> to follow up on not, statistics being cited by mayor bloomberg in new york as part of the problem. >> again, i don't understand the point. the fact that there's a variety of things we need to do doesn't mean we should do, at least when it was first raised me, that we shouldn't do background checks because there needs to be more persecutions of those who violate background check on us. i don't think -- this is not an either or interview. we need to do a host of things that address this problem. >> the administration is committed to increase the number of --
>> i don't want to make declarations about law-enforcement premiere. i refer you to the justice department. but the issue here is that we need to address all of these problems, and that includes your legislation that would universalize background checks, make the system -- rid it of the kinds of loopholes that allow people -- by somebody who is a gun shop owner who participates in the system and goes to does that and then those who do it privately in their homes or at gun shows that doesn't make any sense and adapt undermines the desired effect of the system. so again, we have the whole point of the president's approach, the right approach to this was to it knowledge that they are are a host of problems that we need to address and he's committed, as you've seen him say, to addressing this in a broadway. thanks, guys.
>> was to acknowledge people could be skeptical about a new law than current ones are enforced? >> look, and making our checks universal, making sure that everybody sees that disables a something broadly supported around the country. that fact does not mean you should not do other things to address this problem and the skepticism you are hearing are from reporters who don't want to do anything on this issue because this particular -- >> not mayor bloomberg. >> well, i agree, but mayor bloomberg would say we need universal background checks. and i'm not arguing with that. the point is the need to do a lot of things and one thing we shouldn't do is say because we have other problems we should address the universal background check system, which is a clear way to improve the system of which is broadly supported i.d. american people. thanks. [inaudible conversations]
>> could tell me they are going to pass the bill and it was going to be a good ally for the rights. can sure get him to agree to go to closer with you closer review procedures going to keep from passing anything? >> i think that somebody's going to have to use the web. >> are -- prime minister cameron left for algeria today for talks on the recent hostage situation that lets fix britton said.
before his trip, he took questions at the house of commons on the state of the economy and a proposed tax increase on and alcohol. this is 35 minutes. >> o >> border. questions to the prime minister. i'll sendum feedback. >> thank you, mr. speaker. me it needs its ministerial colleagues and others in addition to my duties in this house fell has further meeting. >> thank you, mr. speaker. is he right the mother and my constituency be confirmed by hio minister, server and her magister's armed forces either by home our bedroom on his return to duty? [shouting] h >> to reform to have the benefin we put in place and i have a look at the case -- [shouting] >> but they have a very clear
principle out of their hard. there are many people who don't have housing benefit, who cannot afford extra bedrooms, and we have to get control of housing benefits. we are now spending as the country 23 billion pounds on housing benefits and we have to get that budget under control. >> rebekah harris. >> will my right honorable friend welcome today's news that university application for uk universities are up 3.5% of this year, and there at the highest level ever for disadvantaged students? >> i think my honorable friend makes it very important point about the figures that have been released this morning. after all, of the concerns that were expressed about the new way of paying for university finance, reducing the number of students applying to university, the number of 18 year old has gone up, and it is now at level where it was in 2011 which is higher than any year under the
last labour government. >> ed miliband. [shouting] >> mr. speaker, mr. speaker, in october the prime minister told me that when it came to the economy, and i quote, the good news will keep coming. after last week's growth figures it obviously hasn't. what is his excuse this time? >> as the right honorable gentleman nose gdp in the third quarter of last you went up by 4.9%. and is forecast by the office of -- it fell by 23%. only honorable members opposite each year that news. [cheers and applause] >> i think the right honorable gentleman should listen to the governor of the bank of england who said this. our economy is recovering more slowly than we might wish, but we are moving in the right direction. the fall in unemployment number clearly back that up. >> ed miliband. >> what an extraordinarily
complacent answer from the prime minister. let us understand the scale of his failure on growth. they told us in autumn 2010 that by now the economy would have grown by over 5%. can the prime minister tell us by how much the economy has actually grown since then? >> there's absolutely nothing complacent about this government. that is why we are cutting corporation tax. we are investing in enterprise zone, a million apprenticeships have perhaps started under this government. and let me point out to him what is actually happening in our economy. 1 million private sector jobs. in the last year alone, half a million private sector jobs, the fastest rate of job creation since 1989. that is what's happening. but do we do need to do more to get the banks lend him to get businesses investing? yes, we do. and under this government we will. >> thank you just for once why doesn't he give us straight
after two straight question? [shouting] growth was not 5% as he foreca forecast. but -- i'm about to give him some advice. i decided to the part-time chancellor, he should spend more time worrying about our economy and less time worrying about how to divert high speed of railroad away from his consistency. [shouting] we've had a flat-lining -- he should -- he shakes his head, but what does he have to say? your mp -- >> mr. alice, you are a distinguished practicing barrister. [shouting] >> you wouldn't behave like that. don't like that -- don't behave like that in this chamber. calm yourself, man. mr. and melvin. >> growth was not 5% but 4.4%. a flat-lining economy means
people's living standards are falling. his excuse is that other countries have done worse than us. so can he confirm that since the chancellor's spending review more than two years ago, as of 20 major cheat 28 economies britain has been 18th out of 24 growth? >> first of all let me say on high-speed rail come which goes right through the middle of the chancellor's constituency, we are proud of the fact it i is a this government has taken the decision to invest. just as this government that is building crossrail which is the biggest construction plan anywhere in europe. he asked about other european economies. the fact is if you listen to the european union, the oecd, or the imf, they all point out that britain will have the fastest growth of any major economy in europe's -- in europe this year. but i have to ask them, what is his plan? we all know. it is a three-point plan.
more spending, more borrowing from more debt. exactly the things that got us in the mess in the first place. >> i have to say we've gotten used to that kind of answer. he promises, he promises a better tomorrow, and tomorrow never comes. that is the reality. and he couldn't deny the fact that we're 18th out of 20 country. were done worse than the u.s.a., worse than candidate, worse than germany, worse than france because of his decisions. now last week, now last week the chief economist of the imf said this. he said if things look bad and at the beginning of 2013, which they do, he was talking about the uk, then you should be a reassessment of fiscal policy. so prime minister, after two years of no growth, county prime minister tells what he should do anything differently in the next two years? >> first of all i would say that he should listen to the managing director of the imf who said this, she said this, when i
think back myself in may 2010 when uk deficit was at 11%, when you were in office, right? and i tried to imagine, and i tried to imagine what the situation would be like to take if no such fiscal consolidation program had been decided, i shiver. that is what the imf says about the plan of the last labour government. now, he raises the issue of growth. >> order. it is not acceptable to shout down either the prime minister or the leader of the opposition, and the public have a very low opinion of that kind of behavior. let's hear the questions and hear the answers. the prime minister. >> he raises the issue of america, and american growth. the fact is our recession was longer and deeper than the recession in america. the biggest banking bust was not in the american banks, it was british banks. he doesn't want -- they won't talk back to more because he doesn't want to talk back
yesterday when the key people responsible for the regulars of the bank and the performance of our economy are sitting right there on the opposition and just. [shouting] >> ed miliband. >> once again a completely incomprehensible answer, tricky. basically the answer that he didn't want to give it is more of the same. more of the same. that is not working. he mentioned borrowing, mr. speaker. he is borrowing 212 billion pounds more than he promised. last week he told the country that he was and i quote paying down britain's debt. but the debt is rising and the borrowed billion pounds more so far this year compared to last year. won't he just admit, it is hurting and it just isn't working? >> if the right honorable gentleman thinks there's a problem with borrowing why does he want to borrow more? the institute of fiscal studies
says that labour's plan would basically add 200 billion pounds to britain's borrowing. he has made absolutely no apology for the mess they made of the economy. his whole message to the british people is give the car keys back to the people who crashed the car in the first place. they didn't regulate the banks. they built up the debt. we're going up the mess that he made. [shouting] >> ed miliband. >> he is borrowing for failure. that is the reality, and he is borrowing more for failure. that is the reality of his record. [shouting] and here is the truth. they said they would balance the books. they have and. they said they will be growth. there be growth. there is an. they said britain was out of the danger zone. is not. isn't the truth he has run out of excuses. room because of his decisions this is the slowest recovery for 100 years? >> he talks about failure. we are dealing with year after year of failure from the party
opposite. they didn't regulate the banks. they build up the debt. they had a totally unbalanced economy. what is happening under this government is a million private sector jobs, unemployment down since the election, the fastest way to business reaction in our recent history, a balance of payment service in cars. we are clearing up the mess they made. they are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past because they haven't learned the lessons and that's what the british public will never trust them with the economy i can. [shouting] >> thank you, mr. speaker. like the prime minister, i want to see a fresh a settlement for euro. german beer drinkers made 13 times more duty than british drinkers. and spanish drinkers -- british drinkers paid 9.2% in spanish tankers and 10,000 more duty than spanish drinkers. will he take the chancellor for a pint?
and do something for british pubs and british republicans speak with my honorable friend quite rightly speaks up for -- i remember visiting the great bravery with him during the last election. i'm sure the chancellor would have listened very carefully to what he said but i think it's very important that we action also tried to support the pub trade in the country and the government has planned for that as well. >> mr. speaker, thousands of my constituents in insulated homes fear high sky whether built. they are 7% interest charges with only five households signed up for it. how has the prime minister achieved this fiasco? >> i would say to the honorable gentleman i hope you'll welcome the green deal because it gives households the opportunity to cut their bills and to cut their costs with absolutely no up front cost. he should be encouraging his constituents to do that.
it is only just begun. the energy company of the nation also provide the opportunity to help insulate some 230,000 homes a year compared with 80,000 on the one from. instead of talking down the schemes he should be encouraging his constituents to take them up. >> mr. speaker, two men have drowned in stormy seas in separate incidents this week, despite the best efforts of brave lifeboat crews and the coordination of the britain's coast guard. how can the prime minister greater local fishermen to pay significant amounts of duty and taxes on their catch that it coast guard station is close, the risks they take will not increase? >> my honorable friend makes an important point and it's a good moment to pay tribute to our coast guard into the incredible work the very difficult and dangerous work that they do. as he knows, the government's examination of the coast guard
hasn't been about reducing the number of votes or active stations. it's about the coordination center and whether best locator i think that's an important point to make. >> thank you why isn't the case of the prime minister is fighting to go and visit a food banquets could it be he visited one, he sees a heartless a britain that he is creating? >> only yesterday i was discussing with a person who runs the food bank in my constituency, which i will be visiting very shortly, he pointed out to me, it was established five years ago and it is worth remembering that food bank use went up 10 times under the last labour government. but i think instead of criticizing people who run food banks we should be thanking them for the work they do. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i'm sure the prime minister will join me in thank you to all those who work in the rescue
service. can ask the prime minister intervened personally in our battle to save the rescue helicopter and ask his minister to come down to listen to those who work in this life saving service, before it is cut? repeated requests so far have been ignored, and i think would be at least courteous and wise. >> well, i know that the transport, former sector estate and other ministers have met with my honorable friend giunta they would've listened very carefully to what he said. as those paying tribute to the coast guard. it's a good opportunity for tribute to the search and rescue services across the country. our reforms are aimed to prove average response time by 20%. that is why we're going ahead with these reforms, i'm sure the ministers will listen very carefully to what he said. >> thank you, mr. speaker. prime minister, since you came into office, unemployment has
increased, risen by over 15% and youth unemployment has risen by 9% to my right honorable friend has made reference to you in respect of goodness will keep coming. would the prime minister be good enough to explain to the house, and my constituents, exactly what is his definition of good news? especially in view of the economy at the end of last year, and that will lead to other economic -- [inaudible] >> if you look at scotland, in scotland unemployment has fallen by 40,000 this quarter but it's fallen by 10,000 since the general election. the number of people employed in scotland has actually gone up, and at one point i think it is important because we raised the tax threshold is 180,000 people across scotland have been taken out of income tax altogether. there's much more that we need to do but i think that represents progress.
>> on syria, the visiting people would be much better off -- [inaudible]. can my right honorable friend tells work on to do to help the poor people of serious? >> first of all my right honorable friend has likely visited the syrian border and seen the refugee camps for herself, and britain is i believe the second largest donor for aid and help into those refugee camps. he is right to say that one of the biggest things that could happen is for the chinese and the russians to consider again the positions and recognized the transition of the top of syria would be good for the whole of that part of the world, and i also believe good for russia as well. we should continue to work with the opposition groups in syria, put pressure on the regime, not least through sanctions and also provide aid and help for those who are fleeing it. >> thank you, mr. speaker.
seeing school technology -- [inaudible] some of the most deprived wards in the country. it is in need of replacement. will the prime minister acknowledged that the real reason for further 15 month delay in the report, in my constituency and others come is because the banks who continue to pay themselves huge bonuses simply refuse to lend the money on the 25 year term demanded by his education secretary? would he speak in plain language, maybe in latin, to the education secretary? [laughter] we need our new school. >> i will leave the latin to the mayor of london if that's all right but also to have a word with the education secretary. what i would say to him is if you look at school capital budget as a whole, they are equivalent to what was previously labour government did in his earlier to pick the money is there. entrance of the banks, the funding for lenny seen from the bank of england, i think it is
having an effect at lowering interest rates. we are reforming but we're also offering infrastructure guarantees, something the treasury has never done before, to help projects go ahead. >> thank you nothing is more important than the caring people delivering it. does the prime minister agree that raising the bar, elevating their space will help us teach the profession to poor parenting to children the best possible start in life? >> i think my honorable friend is right and i would pay tribute to what the department of education produced yesterday in terms of the whole series of proposals to expand to fit the and the affordability of childcare, while also making sure there's a real quality over there but i think we look across europe and we see countries that have very good and very affordable childcare, there are lessons we can learn from them, and to those who say that changing the ratios are wrong, i would say look at the races and countries like denmark or france. we are coming in line to those and we can provide more
available, more affordable childcare so those who want to go after work can find the childcare they need. >> the british government has to do except different welcome proposals of the electoral commission in relation to the independence referendum in schools. amongst those recommendations is that the uk government and the scottish government should jointly upgrade to clarify what process will follow the referendum for eithe either out. for giving the uk government and, indeed, the labour party have called for the full acceptance of the electoral commission recommendations, will the prime minister to give a commitment that he will work with the scottish government in advance of the referendum to come up with is a joint position? >> first of all, can i welcome the fact that the s&p have accepted with electoral commission found? because the electoral commission were worried that franklin was a biased questions i think it's good to have accepted that. of course, we work with the scottish government in providing information but let me be clear about what we won't do.
we will not renegotiate scotland's exit from the united kingdom. [shouting] it is frankly, it is his party that wants to break up the united kingdom, and its or his party to make the case. [shouting] >> would my right honorable friend confirmed, thank you the 2 million plus surge in net immigration under the last labour government has resulted in severe housing shortage is, critical overstretch and our infrastructure, and one household in 20 who don't speak english? would he agree with me that it's in the interest of all british citizens that we're starting to get a grip on our borders of? >> i think my honorable friend is right to give you take the last decade, net migration to the uk was running at over 200,000 a year. that was 2 million across a decade. that's the equivalent of two cities the size of birmingham.
it was too far, too high and less government there's a huge responsibility for not taking responsible decisions. we have taken responsible decisions. we are dealing with, for instance, bogus colleges and bogus students, and the level of net migration has come down by a quarter. we need to do more in terms of making sure that while we welcome people who want to come here and work from within the european union, would you take a tough approach to make sure people are not abusing our benefit system. my honorable friend of the immigration minister is working for hard on this issue and i think it's very important he does. >> last week the prime minister -- [inaudible] complete unacceptable practice. [inaudible] wil will the prime
toheter this a good thing to to the people >> i think if you, maybe we need to modernize the system, should you get a which question, get on a tablet or a not bad so you can proceed. [shouting] but, of course, i look forward to having those discussions with people who offered food banks and those who use the banks. as i said, you saw them grow 10 times under the last labour government. and instead of attacking and i think we should praise the people that give up their time to working these organizations. [shouting] >> after huge community campaign, the hospital had a potential site for new radiotherapy unit. in order to deliver the vital service for local people, we wanted flexibility over the tariff for radiotherapy fraction but so will the prime minister meet with me to see how we can achieve this? >> i think the honorable gentleman make an important point about the tariff and changes to the tariff. i will arrange for them to meet
with the health secretary to discuss this issue. i know from visits how important the hospital is -- he mentions it is to local people and i hope this can be satisfactorily resolved. >> this brief announcement on the second phase of a just too. was welcome in manchester in the whole of the northern england. but it's a project is really going to make an impact on the north-south divide, would it make sense of one bill, and build north to south as will a south to north? >> welcome i will look carefully over the honorable gentleman this but i'm glad that is an all party welcome for high-speed rail. i think it is important that we get this done. i think the best way of delivering the legislation, the leader of the house will come forward with our plans at the appropriate time. i worry if you change the plan to building the route you delay the overall project. and my concern is not that is going too fast if anything, it
is going too slowly. >> last week graham godman was convicted, of dangerous driving and causing the death of my much respective constituents paul pastorek while disqualified uninsured and speaking. mr. godwin has multiple previous convictions for driving without insurance. and said he was not subject to the laws of our land. the current maximum prison sentence for this crime is to years. my constituents tomato understandably believes that it is time for parliament to recognize the danger caused by serious disqualified drivers, and also to increase the maximum sentence for dangerous driving. would my right honorable friend ask the justice secretary to look urgently at both of these issues of? >> i think my honorable friend can tell from the response received around the house this concert express is shared widely around house and argued widely around the country. the previous government and his government both work to try and increase some of the penalties
associated with the drivers who ended up killing people through the recklessness and carelessness. i will look carefully of what he says and arrange for them to meet with the justice secretary. i do think it's important that we give our caused a sense that when you are appalling extraordinary crimes, they can take exemplary action. i think that is important in a justice system and i look very carefully at what he said. >> thank you on the subject of food safety, the concern -- [inaudible] [laughter] >> that was -- i was -- [shouting] i had -- i had somewhere in my briefing, i had some very complicated information about the danger of particular drugs for horses entering the food chain, and i have to say, he threw me completely without ingenious if it. [laughter] i think what i'd say is the conservative party has always been for people who want to work
hard and get on, and i'm glad that all of my all of those behind the taken very seriously indeed. [shouting] >> as my right honorable friend sets forth on his pacific mission to algeria, will be, with this great historical knowledge, bear in mind that when louis philippe said his oldest son to our bureau in the 1840s -- [laughter] -- it took a century, massive casualties, the overthrow of the third republic and the genius of general de gaulle to get the french army back out at the north african desert? [laughter]
>> order order. order to i think we want to the prime minister's answer. the prime minister spent i can reach the shore my right honorable friend i am only planning to visit algiers, not anything else but i'm sure the event to which he referred he put down energy question and got a response at a time. [laughter] >> i am grateful, mr. speaker. last week the prime minister said that he was -- last week the prime minister said he was think of britain's debt, but on his what you go up by 600 billion pounds. would you like to take the opportunity to break the record? >> i'm very clear. we've got the deficit down by a quarter, and in order to get on top of our dead you have to get on top of the deficit. that is a state located on top of our dead. but it is worth reminding
ourselves why we are having to do this in the first place. who was it who wrapped up the dead? who was it who racke rack up the deficit? who was it that gave us the biggest deficit of any country, virtually anywhere in the world? it was, it was the government which he supported. >> if the prime minister it agrees the shortage of binging skills our greatest threat, and anticipation rate of women in engineering is scandalously floated willie encourage his colleagues to inspire young people to take on the challenging and well-paying careers in engineering whether graduates or apprentices? >> i will certainly very carefully at the bill that my right honorable friend puts forward. i would say that in these recent data released today, one of the encouraging signs is the number of people studying engineering and computer science has actually gone up quite radically. as an early sign that the steps
that have been taken frankly overreaching by governments of all parties to try to raise the status of engineering and encouraging engineering are beginning to have an effect. >> this government has just introduced two new tax base which will cause people who own the oh, no, between 25 and 35,000 pounds per family. why is he choosing to put a block on the aspirations of young people who want to build their own home? >> we are encouraging people to build a own home and buy their own homes, not least by the reform of the planning system that has seen the planning guidance come from 1000 pages to 50 pages. that's why we are also encouraging the right to buy. and if honorable members opposite want to help, they might want to talk to the labour of 40s that are continually knocking people from buying the council or having association homes. >> thank you, mr. speaker. will my right honorable friend wish to congratulate the company
in my constituency, but taking advantage of the capital of laos is announced and the autumn statement of purchase to 1.3 million pounds, that will create six new jobs under -- i certain to my honorable friend in welcoming that investment it is experience in campaign history logic did have an effect in bringing forward these proposals on capital allowances. it's absolutely clear a lot of businesses do have money locked up in a balance sheets that we want to see invested, and i believe that these capital allowances are good with encouraging businesses to bring forth that sort of investment. >> david is severely disabled and has a medical need for an extra room in his home. why is the government he leads
taking 676 pounds a year away from him in order to pay for a tax cut for the richest? >> what i would say to the honorable gentleman if we put in place a 30 million-pound discretionary fund to help in particular cases like the one that he raises. but we do have an overall situation where the housing benefit budget is now 23 billion pounds. that is only 10 billion pounds less than the entire defense budget. it's not good enough for members opposite to oppose welfare cut after will forgot, to propose welfare spend after welfare spend, while they realize that we're dealing with the mess they left. >> does the prime minister agree with the leader of the opposition talked about the economy, he sounds just like an extraordinary undertaker looking forward to a hard one to? does he not accept that you cannot get out of a debt crisis by borrowing more money? >> my honorable friend makes a very good point.
the fact is the economy that we inherited was completely unbalanced. it was based on housing but it was based on finance. it was based on government spending and those based on immigration. those were for incredibly unstable pillars for sustained economic growth. what we that it is a major recovery operation. that operation is still underway but you can see in the new jobs created in the private sector businesses that are expanding them into new people signing up the businesses we are making progress. >> george galloway. [shouting] >> following yesterday's announcement, will the prime minister -- [inaudible] the key differences between the and chopping, crosscutting jihadists, fighting a dictatorship and valley that we are announced to kill, and the equally bloodthirsty jihadists
that we're giving money, material, political and diplomatic support to in syria, has the prime minister read frankenstein, and did he read it to the end? >> well, something's come and go but there's one thing that is a certain. whatever there is a brutal arab dictator in the world he will have the support of the honorable gentleman. [shouting] >> order, order. last but not least, mr. whitaker. >> thank you, mr. speaker. we can definitely -- we can definitely do without them. will my right on of a friend, the prime minister, told the house whether he will be taking seriously the liberal democrats ministers who are queuing up today to resign their posts after batting against the government in last nights vote for? >> what i would say to my honorablef